Today was such a long and tiring day, but it was oh so very fun. I was supposed to refuel my bus yesterday afternoon when I came back from my run, but I forgot to. So instead, I came in early this morning (I got there at 5:30 instead of 5:45) and refueled as soon as I was done with my pre-trip. But when I got in and started walking up to my bus, I noticed that the service door was wide open. I thought this was odd. When I got up to my bus, I was greeted by a garbage can that had been knocked over and emptied all up and down the aisle. What a way to start the day! At least there hadn't been too much trash in it… it definitely could have been worse.
My AM routes were uneventful, even though I had a new student riding on my main route today. The principal had warned me yesterday that he has a tendency to get out of hands when he doesn't take his meds. I was told that if he started getting out of hand, it probably meant he hadn't taken his meds that morning, and I should just pull over and call the police to have him removed. Nice. What he didn't tell me, though, is that “out of hand” really means “getting so wound up that it takes four adults to hold him down.” Granted, that was second-hand information, so I don't know that it really took four adults, but I'm still guessing that he can get pretty bad at times. But he just sat quietly with the other kids at the back of the bus. No problem at all. I ended up running 10-15 minutes late for a good portion of my route, but I really don't care anymore. If they are going to add a new stop without adjusting my times, they can learn to live with a late bus.
After my morning routes, it was off to the charter. I dropped my monitor off as we passed by the base, then headed on to the school. They had assigned me to a school close to the base so that I could come back after the charter to pick up the monitors for all the buses at my school and take them out, since the other drivers weren't going to be stopping by the base before their PM routes. The kids on the charter were, for the most part, well-behaved. I think they were all first-graders, but I'm not 100% sure. The teachers were all really nice. One of them was talking to me and commented, “Are you sure you're old enough to drive this bus?” Hehehe. I didn't tell her that I really am barely old enough to be driving the bus, instead I opted for the vague answer of: “I don't know. They tell me I am.”
I didn't really know how to get to our destination for the charter, so I was just following some other buses from the school. For some reason, we went in this giant 6-block circle downtown before we pulled up to drop the kids off. I'm not too sure exactly what that was about, but I really didn't ask questions, either. After I had parked and been told I could start unloading, a police officer walked up to me and asked, “Do you think you can pull your bus around this one in front of you?” I was parked very close, since we were packing a lot of buses in down there. I told him that I could, but that they had told me to stick with the other buses from my school. He just said, “Oh, okay,” then walked away. I don't know if he was just quizzing my driving skills or what. It was weird.
We then had several hours to kill before the kids had to load back up and head back to the schools, so I wandered around with a few of the other drivers looking for food. We ended up hopping on a bus that someone had just driven off from where it had been parked (no one on the bus knew who had driven it down) and heading off to the mall to get some food. I opted for Chick-Fil-A at the food court, and ended up getting a second 12-piece of nuggets for free, since I had to wait for fries. Yay for patience!
The ride back to the school with the kids was a bit different, to say the least. All of the kids were beautifully behaved, except for one. He was seated directly behind me, and evidently hadn't taken his medication that day. I learned from the teacher over the course of the ride back that he had tried to run away from her while they were on the field trip, and that he had been kicking her. He kept standing on the seat, and at one point, he was trying to kick the window out. I clipped a curb big-time while making a turn, and at first I felt bad, then the teacher said to the kid, “See? You need to sit down, or you're going to keep falling like that.” Hahahaha. My mistake almost taught him a lesson. But he wouldn't listen to her, and one of the other teachers came up to the front of the bus to hold the kid down until we got back to the school and security could take care of him. All of this from a first-grader.
My regular kids were behaved as usual in the afternoon. Nothing eventful at all. Although one of them decided to direct me to take a “short-cut” that would have been quicker, had we not been in a bus. Making turns shaper than a right angle in a 37-foot bus is not exactly “easy”. Hopefully, they won't try that again. I was not amused. I got back to the lot at 4:15 this afternoon. 5:30 AM to 4:15 PM. Almost 11 hours of work. This will be one happy paycheck, for sure.